Frosty Jack

Perspective is often the only thing that separates us from feeling depressed and feeling elated. I’m sure that in 99% of cases it’s simply a choice in life to feel positive or to feel negative – and I continually TRY to choose the former.

This morning the sun was shining and even though it was bitterly cold outside I was very much looking forward to the two mile walk to the Jobcentre for my new bi-weekly work hunting progress check. Sure – the destination kind of sucked – but it was a great excuse to get up really early, prepare some food for the slow cooker, make some sweet sweet nectar (coffee) and go out into the big wide world.

The walk immediately underlined how much of an idiot I can be when I’m hard on myself about properly resting an injury. When I do I still end up thinking that it’s some kind of ‘failure’. I can quickly tell the positive difference that rest makes when I have a few days off – and I definitely noticed an added spring in my step when I started out.

Last week security at the Jobcentre had taken issue with me drinking from my flask of coffee on their premises (it’s a potentially lethal weapon in the wrong hands it seems) so this morning I arrived early and sat over the road on a wall to finish my beverage before my appointment. It also enabled a nice little moment of relaxation whilst listening to some chilled Jazz and contemplating how nice and blue the sky was.

On the next wall along another guy was performing a similar ritual and completing the last dregs of a two litre bottle of Frosty Jack strong cider before going in. He seemed to be looking down at his feet rather than up to the cloudless sky, and appeared to be utterly miserable.

I’m pretty sure that his perspective on today was radically different to my own – and the expression on his face spoke volumes. The words on his bottle mirrored his expression completely and he looked like he expected the absolute worst from his day and from anyone that he was likely to meet.

I’m relatively sure that with this kind of start he was almost certainly going to achieve those expectations, and wondered how much just choosing to be happy rather than miserable would have changed his day.

Although it wasn’t on my mind before seeing him next to me I couldn’t help but thinking of a motivational phrase that I KEEP coming back to and wondering how much it might change his life if he just accepted it – even for a few minutes.


Sure – he may well have significantly more serious personal issues than I can discern from just briefly observing him – but I know from intimate experience that disappearing into one kind of oblivion or another only serves to perpetuate any underlying problems.

I wonder if there was something magical that I could have said to him at that particular moment in time to make him decide to view life differently? I know it took a long time for me to change my view of the world, and a pretty significant event to make it happen. I wish that I could distill all the pain, joy and clarity of that moment when I began to modify my perspective and explain to him the feelings behind it with all of their context and history in one simple sentence.

If I could I’d deploy such a sentence in moments like this because it’s desperately sad to see someone that seems so shattered and despondent – especially when you feel so different.

I put my now empty flask into my rucksack and left him to finish, crossing the road to the job centre. I couldn’t help but noticing the signage again. It had stuck in my mind last time and when I’d first seen the languidly hanging and missing letters it confirmed all of my worst fears about how depressing and unhelpful this place was going to be.

It looks as unloved and dishevelled as it seems possible for a sign to be.

However, the sign has nothing to do with the people within and my case worker has so far seemed really nice and very positive.

I went in, said ‘hello’, asked her about her week and outlined what I’d been doing to find work whilst she browsed through my application history. Before I knew it I was done. We both smiled at each other and I left to continue my day.

It seems from her demeanour and probing that I’m making much more effort than maybe some of my peers are and that I’m filed currently in the ‘not a problem’ bracket, which suits me just fine. So far I’ve applied for quite a lot – but not yet heard anything back.

It’s early days though – so we’ll see what time brings. I’ve just done another two applications whilst sitting on my laptop in a coffee shop and I’m pleased with the day’s progress so far. Something good will happen soon. I can feel it in my bones.

In the midst of all this positivity though I’m getting into my usual ‘it’s Friday and I’m nervous about standing on the scales’ mode of thinking. This involves me continually trying to evaluate in the back of my mind whether or not I’ve done enough to ensure a loss or not this week.

Honestly I can’t call it at the moment – although that’s nothing new. I never can.

Since most of the week has been without walking (and in the past my activity appears to produce results that are deferred rather than immediate) I can only speculate. Despite everything that’s been going on recently I’ve still managed to ‘not eat all the pies’ though which is a big win in itself.

I’m actually really rather proud of that.

Maybe one day I’ll develop a more relaxed frame of mind about whether I’ve lost weight or not but at the moment I’m still driven and obsessed on a daily (and often hourly) basis with it.

Anyway – enough of naval gazing. What will be will be Internet and since I can do little more to influence it I’m going to enjoy strolling around some more whilst making the most of a beautiful cloudless blue sky.




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